Gray-green shrub to 1 m tall, much-branched; leaves short-petiolate or sessile, elliptic-ovate to narrowly oblong, about 1-2 cm long, grayish with a fine scurf; plants unisexual, the flowers in small clusters in more or less profuse terminal panicles; staminate perianth 4- or 5-cleft, minute; pistillate flowers without perianth; fruiting bracts broadly heart-shaped, flat or convex on sides, united at base, 4-5 mm long, 4-6 mm wide. Flowers August and September.
The common four-wing saltbush, A. canescens, is the only other large shrubby saltbush in the area. Its fruiting bracts have four well-developed wings.
New Mexico, Luna and Hidalgo counties; southeastern Arizona, Cochise County.
Saline playa margins where plants are not submerged for long periods of time.
Many Atriplex provide excellent forage in arid lands. There is no information as to the forage value of this species or how it responds to intensive browsing.
*New Mexico Native Plants Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
*Carter, J.L. 1997. Trees and shrubs of New Mexico. Mimbres Publishing Co., Silver City, New Mexico.
*Wagner, W.L. and E.F. Aldan. 1978. Manual of the saltbushes (Atriplex spp.) in New Mexico. General Technical Report RM-57. USDA-Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, Colorado.